The Indians have signed Billy Hamilton and Ben Gamel to minor league deals hoping to make the club out of spring training.
The Cleveland Indians have agreed to terms to bring in outfielders Billy Hamilton and Ben Gamel to compete for roster spots in spring training. Both men signed deals on Thursday, with the Associated Press (via ESPN) reporting that Hamilton had signed and Tribe Insider breaking on Gamel.
While neither man is a 40 home run type of player, or are in the prime of their careers and coming off of big seasons, both men could add some consistency at a position of need. People often confuse baseball with other sports like the NBA and NFL with regards to free agents, oftentimes you can find really good players without having to spend a lot of money in baseball. This could very easily be the case here.
Hamilton, 30, is a .241 career hitter, and at his peak was able to snag 50 stolen bases a year. He’s had injuries over the last few years, but nothing too major to his legs, which could indicate he still has that speed. Gamel, 28, on the other hand, is a career .261 hitter with adequate gap power, capable of hitting a nice amount of doubles in a season. Gamel just hasn’t been impressive enough to keep teams interested in him beyond a year or two.
Their arrival, plus the acquisition of Eddie Rosario, the potential callup of Nolan Jones, plus Jake Bauers and Franmil Reyes creates a potential log jam in the outfield. It also potentially gives the Indians their best outfield in years if guys like Hamilton and Gamel turn out to be good gets and guys like Jones and Bauer end up living up to their potential.
Granted there are a lot of “ifs” with this Indians team, but this team has found ways of turning pieces of coal into diamonds over the last decade, so why should now be any different. We’re not so far removed from a nobody pitcher named Corey Kluber becoming the best pitcher in the Majors. Nor are we so far removed from a time that Michael Brantley went from the “player to be named later” in the C.C. Sabathia trade, to becoming the lynchpin in the Indians’ offense.
Now they have to do it again. This is a team that has known how to cultivate talent.